REL on a Sunday in Ponty to end a great season.
from Nick Wakley
Nick is cycling from Amsterdam to Belgium in 3 days for the For Luca Charity. He us even missing the club dinner to do this! If you can donate something for this great charity can you please go to Nick's page? Many thanks.
Those who are attending the club dinner, money needs to be paid before the event on Sunday evening. Andrew Phillips will be at the club at 5pm to collect outstanding money.
Can you please arrive at the club between 5.00/5.30pm on Sunday. We will be sitting for food at 6pm prompt. We look forward to seeing you as we celebrate another successful season of Steelmen rugby.
Guess what? Yes! Even more squad news!
There is yet more positive news for the club as Owen Williams, Dan Haymond, Craig Duncan, Tom Watkins and Ryan Gardiner have all re-signed.The experienced Owen Williams has been invaluable to the coaches and players on and off the field this year, and will be looking to add to the 6 tries he crossed for this season. Dan Haymond, a product of Abergavenny RFC, begins his 5th season having already given sterling service at 10 and 15. An exciting broken field runner, Dan will look to build on his good form during the last season. Tom Watkins will once again provide experience and versatility within the squad; an excellent clubman, he has never let the Steelmen down at wing, fullback and with a few cameos at centre thrown in. Craig Duncan, a product of the town’s excellent rugby nursery, RTB RFC will be looking to recapture the early season form that saw him take the team by storm with a debut game try and 2 assists with quality line breaks in the league fixture at Cross Keys. This saw him mentioned in despatches by Welsh coaching guru Alan Lewis and an action shot in the Wales v Australia programme. Craig has continued to work hard at his game with the coaching staff, with regular rugby at RTB keeping him match fit. Speed merchant Ryan Gardiner has yet to make his debut for the Steelmen after suffering a pre-season knee injury. Ryan worked hard through the rehab process with the Steelmen's medical team and has impressed coaches and players alike in training with the development in his game. He is firmly expected to make a breakthrough in the coming season. He is another product of RTB and has also gained valuable match fitness with the club and this support from them is much appreciated.
And yet more squad news…
Ebbw Vale RFC are extremely pleased and proud at the news of Carl Meyer gaining a professional contract at the Dragons. It is further testimony to the club's ability to recognise and develop talent ready and capable for the professional game. It is also a great testimony to Carl’s work ethic and strength of character to come from the other side of the world with its warm climate, and embrace what a winter in Ebbw Vale brings! We are sure that he will go on and have a long and successful professional career and that if he is available he will wear the Steelmen colours again. Here is a message from Carl:
"To all the Ebbw Vale players, coaching staff and management ,as well as the Ebbw Addicts: words can’t describe how grateful I am to be a part of such an amazing club. First, I would like to thank Jon Jones, Jason Strange, Mark Powell and all those who have helped to get me to come over to Wales and bless me with the opportunity to play for this great club. Because of the support, coaching and players I have felt right at home and been able to play some of my best rugby, which is one of the reasons I am blessed with the opportunity today to play professionally, so thank for making me feel at home and part of the family. Second, I would like to thank Andrew Phillips, Rev. Geoff Waggett and his wife as well as Paul Thomas for opening their homes to me and allowing me to stay with them I am truly grateful for your hospitality.
Thirdly I would like to thank the Ebbw Addicts for all the support and help you have given me: you guys always go the extra mile and make every game feel like a home game and, no matter what the result, you are always behind the boys. You all are an important part as to why this club has been so successful, so thank you again for all you do.
Last but not least, to all the boys, I have had some great memories with you guys this past two seasons but one of the best feelings is putting on the Red, White and Green jersey every weekend and having the honour and privilege to take the field with all of you. Good luck for next season boys; I know that next year will be your year at the top of the premiership.
Once a Steelman always a Steelman
Cult Hero and Friends
The back row union, led by the Cult Hero Ronny “Catch’n” Kynes, have all re-signed for the Steelmen, with 14-try Ronny leading the way, followed closely by the talented supporters’ favourite Cameron Reagan. Both will enter their 5th season at Eugene Cross Park. Following his switch to the back row Rhys Clarke, a Penallta RFC product now living in Ebbw Vale, will begin his fourth season at the club and will look to build on a number of very powerful performances in the 6 jersey. He will be joined by the force of nature that is Gareth ‘Denver” Williams who is looking forward to the tough pre-season fitness regime that will allow him to push for a regular starting position in the side. And there’s a new signing in the department, with Pontypridd flanker Luke Crocker, who had four outstanding seasons with our good friends at Beddau, making the move to Eugene Cross Park. 25 year old Luke featured strongly for the Sardis Road outfit at the end of the season and, at 6’2” and 16.5 st, is a big, dynamic forward who can also play at lock.
Working closely with the back row will be Rhys Downes and Chris Thomas who have battled hard for the starting 9 jersey all season. Rhys, having joined in September, has made a fantastic impression both on and off the field and provided much needed Premiership experience at crucial times in the season. He also won a "Premiership Player of the Month" award in recognition of his performances. Former Penallta RFC player Chris will enter in to his 4th season with the club. He produced an excellent end of season, where his all action and fast passing style gave the outside backs additional space, and he will be looking to carry his excellent form into the next campaign. No one who was at Llanelli will forget his sublime dummy prior to his try; if you weren’t there, buy the coming soon Season DVD at £10, because it’s worth it for that one moment alone !
A number 9 departure sees David Jones leave the club as he seeks a regular starting berth in the premiership with Bedwas RFC where he will join up with old coaching mentor Llyr Lane. Dai spent five seasons with us, and was one of the early signings following our relegation season. He contributed significantly to the success on the field and the culture of the club off it. There was seldom a quiet or dull moment in the clubhouse with Dai and we wish him every success, and remind him that he will always be welcome at the club.
The club can also confirm that the powerful ball carrying of No 8 Spencer Gibson will be seen in his hometown black & amber of Newport RFC next season. Having spent 3 campaigns at ECP, where he gained many admirers with his strong ball carrying and try-scoring prowess, he has decided that he wishes to have a fresh start and a more regular starting place in the Premiership. The club wish the man, once described in the media as “Ebbw's wrecking ball of a No 8” all the best in the future.
More squad news
Propping In and Out and Winging In and Out
Ebbw Vale RFC are delighted to confirm that Ian George will make a welcome return to the club for the 2015/6 season. Ian is a well known and popular figure at the club having spent two seasons with the Steelmen as a renowned scrummager, and a key figure in the pack that drove us to our last 2nd place finish in the Premiership in 2006-07. Capped at age group levels for Wales, he brings a wealth of Premiership experience to the Steelmen squad following successful spells at Cardiff and Bedwas. Having spent last season at Newbridge in the Championship, Ian was keen to play Premiership rugby at a club where had previously enjoyed his time enormously.
Ian will fill the gap in the front row following the decision of John Lavender to switch to his hometown club, Newport RFC, as he continues his university studies. John has made a big contribution in the last three seasons and has cemented himself as one of the best young loose heads in the Premier Division. All at the Steelmen are sorry to see John leave but fully understand his reasons and wish him well in his studies and rugby career. Hopefully, in the future, he will have more time to make the journey to the Heads of the Valley and we will once again see him in the red, green and white jersey.
The club is also very pleased to secure the signature of Steffan Jones, a 22 year old winger who has played for Llanharan, Cardiff and Wales 7s.
Steffan Jones in try-scoring action for Wales 7s
As a youngster he spent 10 years at Cardiff City’s football academy and has represented Wales in athletics and schools football. Steffan comes on the recommendation of Rob Hignett, a former team-mate of Jason Strange at Bristol and now rugby coach at that city’s university, where Steffan is studying psychology (top man!) Steffan said, “It was great to sign with Ebbw last week and I’m really excited for next season!”
As previously announced Wes Cunliffe, a key and hugely popular figure in the last five years at the club, will make the move to his hometown team of Newport RFC in search of a more regular starting place. Wes was one of the first players to commit to the rebuilding of Ebbw Vale RFC and in 111 games for the Steelmen scored an incredible 79 tries including 8 this season. He knows that he will always be welcome at the club, where he is held in the highest regard, and we wish him well in the future.
Earlier 2015-16 squad news
Ebbw’s management and coaching team are very pleased to make the following announcement regarding players who have signed on again for season 2015-016. All have won many admirers in the club’s first season back in the Principality Premiership - and most have been with us for much longer!
A front five not for moving
Prop forwards Rob Sevenoaks and Ross Jones will begin their successive 6th season as Steelmen, along with Gethin Robinson who has made a great contribution in his first season at ECP. They will be joined by 19 year old Luke Leddington a Welsh U20’s Squad member in 2015 - a great achievement for a non-academy attached player.
Mathew “Chunky” Williams, after a three-week mid season retirement, will be starting his 13th season for the Steelmen, and passing on his knowledge and expertise to Rhys Francis who has been a strong challenger for the hooking berth in his first year after signing from Cardiff Met.
The formidable double act of Damien Hudd and Ashley Sweet will begin their 6th season in the boiler house and will be challenged by two young players in Josh Jacas and Joe Bartlett; mighty Joe, having recovered from a serious knee injury, is looking forward to pulling on the shirt again after an absence of just over a season
Centres of Attention
In the backs the powerful centre trio Adam Jones, Nathan Preece and young tyro Jordan Howells have also exercised their signatures in renewing contracts at the club.
Keep your eyes on this page and our twitter feed for more news of playing staying and new arrivals!
Fundraiser for Owen Williams
Gareth Spencer, a close friend of Ebbw Vale RFC and recent interviewer of Sportpit Media, is raising money for the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust and the #StayStrongForOws campaign for Wales and Cardiff Blues player, Owen Williams. Gareth is subjecting himself to ever increasing levels of physical challenge so please read his page and donate if you can. https://www.justgiving.com/StayStrongForOws-GJS/
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